Posts Tagged ‘Israeli embassy’

Brian Haw, Democracy, Cabs, Colombia & Israeli Atrocity – 2010

Sunday, June 2nd, 2024

Brian Haw, Democracy, Cabs, Colombia & Israeli Atrocity: Six protests on Wednesday 2nd June 2010.


Brian Haw & Democracy Village – Parliament Square

Brian Haw, Democracy, Cabs, Colombia & Israeli Atrocity

It was 9 years since Brian Haw had begun his peace protest in Parliament Square and police marked the occasion by serving a summons on his fellow protester Barbara Tucker for using a megaphone. An officer writes out the details as I take photographs (more online.)

Brian Haw, Democracy, Cabs, Colombia & Israeli Atrocity

The previous week both Brian and Barbara had been arrested and held for 30 hours while the Queen came for the state opening of Parliament – as usual others in the campaign continued the protest during their enforced absence.

Brian Haw, Democracy, Cabs, Colombia & Israeli Atrocity

The arrest had come after Brian had objected to police carrying out a search of his home – a tent in Parliament Square – without a warrant – the 13th or 14th illegal search police have made as a part of the continual campaign of harassment against him over the years.

Brian Haw, Democracy, Cabs, Colombia & Israeli Atrocity

Still also in Parliament Square were the tents of the separate peace campaign Brian and Barbara label as the Police Camp, Democracy Village, there since the May Day protest a month ago.

A handful of those from the camp were protesting outside the railings around Parliament with banners demanding peace and questioning the authority of Parliament. Police generally left them along apart from telling some to climb down from the wall.

BrianHaw – Summons Marks 9 Years
Democracy Village Protest


Black Cabs Protest – Aldwych

Several thousand ‘black cabs’ had come to Aldwych with a number of ‘knowledge boys and girls’ on scooters currently training for the job, causing considerable disruption and delay to London traffic. They claim they are unfairly victimised by Transport for London, the Public Carriage Office and Westminster city council.

Many non-cabbies feel that these cabs are an outdated relic from the era of the hansom cab and that their operations in ‘plying for hire’ lead to unnecessary congestion. Minicab drivers feel that they are discriminated against in favour of the cabs and arguably have a rather stronger case.

Black cabs are largely used by a relatively small and well-off section of the community and we could surely have a better public transport system for the majority without them. But in my post on My London Diary I have a longer description of their grievances as well as reporting how police attempts to control the protest multiplied its effectiveness.

Black Cabs Protest


BP Picket for Colombian Oil Workers – St James’s Square

The Colombia Solidarity Campaign held a picket outside BP’s HQ in support of Colombian oil workers who have occupied a BP plant on the Cusiana oilfield and are stopping building works there while allowing normal work at the plant to continue.

On My London Diary you can read a lengthy piece on the dispute in an area of Colombia under military occupation and where peaceful protesters occupying the plant were attacked by armed commandos from the Colombian Army together with BP’s private security personnel.

Among the speakers at the picket was Jim Catterson of the ICEM, the International Federation of Chemical, Energy, Mine and General Worker’s Unions, ICEM, which represents more than 20 million workers around the world, and was calling for international solidarity with the oil worker’s union (USO) and the Movement for the Dignity of Casanare in the fight against BP.

Much more about the dispute and protest at BP Picket for Colombian Oil Workers.


Protest for Murad Akincilar – Turkish Embassy, Belgrave Square

A protest at the Turkish Embassy called for the release of trade unionist Murad Akincilar arrested the previous September while on extended holiday in Turkey and still in prison in Istanbul. Lack of medical care in prison has resulted in serious eye damage and partial blindness. His case was due to come to court again the following day.

Based in Switzerland where he works for trade union Unia, Akincilar had studied in London for a Masters degree at the LSE 18 years earlier and was known personally to some in the protest organised by Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! and Gikder to support the campaign being organised by the Swiss trade union Unia.

Protest for Murad Akincilar


Zionist Federation Supports Israeli Atrocity – Israeli Embassy, Kensington

The Zionist Federation together with members of the English Defence League demonstrated opposite the Israeli embassy in support of the Israeli Defence Force killings in the attack on the Gaza aid flotilla.

A few Palestinian supporters had come to oppose this protest but the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign and Stop the War had decided not to support the counter-demonstration to avoid conflict.

On My London Diary I quote statements by the World Zionist Orgainsation and the World Jewish Congress (WJC) expressing regret at the loss of life that occurred, but the mood of this pro-Israel protest was very different, “one of a gloating triumphalism that seemed entirely inappropriate to the situation“, and I state I was “sickened when at one point a large group of the demonstrators began chanting ‘dead Palestinian scum‘.

I also recorded “I had been appalled to find that this was to be a demonstration jointly with the Zionist Federation and the English Defence League, some of whose members many of us have seen and heard chanting racist slogans on our streets. It seems unbelievable that a Jewish organisation should align itself – even if unofficially – with people like this.” Few EDL actually turned up.

One placard read ‘Peace Activists don’t use weapons’ but as I pointed out on My London Diary the the photographs on the WJC web site show “almost entirely exactly the kind of tools that would be expected to be found on any ship in its galley and for general maintenance, as well as items being taken for building work in Gaza” with the exception of “a few canisters of pepper spray, some catapults and what looks like some kind of ceremonial knife.

As I also pointed out in my report, the “the actions of the state of Israel in their attacks on Gaza, their disruption of everyday life for the Palestinians and the blockade is making the possibility of peace much more distant. I’m not a supporter of Hamas, but Israel needs to ask why Hamas enjoys such support in Gaza and to change its own policies which have led to this. Like other conflicts, resolution depends on winning hearts and minds and this can’t be done with tanks and bulldozers.”

I had few problems covering the protest but other press were less fortunate. Four “were surrounded and chased by a an angry group of threatening Zionist demonstrators at the end of the protest, before police eventually stepped in to protect them.”

More at Zionist Federation Support Israeli Atrocity.


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Israel’s Land Day Massacre & Afrin March

Sunday, March 31st, 2024

Israeli Land Day Massacre & Afrin March – On Saturday 31st March 2018 two emergency protests in London condemned the cold-blooded shooting by the Israeli army of peaceful protesters near the separation wall in Gaza the previous day, Palestinian Land Day. The was also a march calling for an end to the invasion of Afrin by Turkey and al Qaeda-affiliated militias intended to destroy this peaceful state and eliminate the majority Kurdish population of the area.


Land Day protest against supporters of Israeli state – Oxford St

Israeli Land Day Massacre & Afrin March

Protesters from the Revolutionary Communist Group have held regular protests outside the Marks and Spencer flagship store on Oxford Street for many years. They were met there this morning by others apalled by the news of the 17 unarmed Palestinian civilians shot dead by Israeli snipers.

Israeli Land Day Massacre & Afrin March

Those murdered in cold blood were taking part in the first of a weekly series of marches, the ‘Great March of Return‘, beginning on Land Day, the anniversary of protests against the state confiscation of swathes of Palestinian land in Galilee in 1976 until Nakba Day on May 15, the anniversary of the expulsion of millions of Palestinians from their homes and villages in 1948.

Israeli Land Day Massacre & Afrin March

The protesters went from M&S to protest outside other stores on Oxford St with business links with apartheid Israel, calling for shoppers to boycott them. While I was with them they also protested outside Selfridges, which sells Israeli wines, Adidas which supports the Israel football team, Boots which sells cosmetics made in Israel and Carphone Warehouse and were continuing along the street when I had to leave.

Land Day protest against Israeli state


Defend Afrin – Bring Anna Home – Oxford St

Israeli Land Day Massacre & Afrin March

Turkey’s attack on Afrin in north-west Syria is a clear violation of international law, and air strikes have deliberately targeted civilian areas.

Turkey has NATO’s second largest army and much of its weapons come from European states including the UK which had recently signed a major arms deal. The UK government has expressed support for Turkey, claiming it has a right to defend it borders, but this attack is outside these and Turkey has clearly announce an intention to push far into Syria.

Turkish aims are clearly genocidal with Turkish president Erdogan having stated he intends to invade all the Kurdish areas of Syria and “cleanse” the area of its Kurdish people.

As well as calling for an immediate ceasefire and end to the Turkish invasion of Syrian and UK support for this, they called for an end of UK arms sales to all human rights abusing regimes in the Middle East and for humanitarian relief for Afrin and other areas of Syria and for an investigation into human rights abuses there. They also called on the UK government to demand Turkey return the body of YPJ volunteer Anna Campbell to her family in Sussex.

Much more on My London Diary at Defend Afrin – Bring Anna Home.


Israeli Embassy Protest against Land Day Killings

I joined others close to the Israeli embassy in Kensington for an emergency protest against the shooting of unarmed protesters several hundred yards from the Gaza separation wall by IDF snipers. 17 Civilians were killed and over 750 seriously injured by live fire, with others injured by rubber bullets and tear gas.

The massacre the previous day had shocked the world and led the UN to call for an independent investigation, which Israel have refused – just as they have refused calls for independent investigation into other massacres. The news had come too late for a large protest to be organised – which followed in April.

Coverage of the event in the UK media on the day had been surprisingly muted, with the BBC giving considerable air-time to Israeli state speakers shamefully claiming the massacre was reasonable and fully justified. The same thing has been happening over events in Gaza in recent months, though I think it has now become very much clearer that they have lost all credibility and even some presenters have sometimes challenged them.

Against Israeli Land Day massacre.

Palestinian Land Day – 2019

Saturday, March 30th, 2024

Palestinian Land Day remembers the day in 1976 when unarmed protesters were killed when marches in Arab towns against the confiscation of land were confronted by Israeli army and police. Six unarmed Palestinians were killed around a hundred wounded and hundreds arrested. Most of the information here on Land Day is from Wikipedia.

Palestinian Land Day - 2019

The numbers involved now seem so small compared to the over 32,000 murdered in Gaza in recent months but it was a significant event as the marches were the first since 1948 in which Palestinians had organised nationally together against Israeli policies with these marches and a national strike.

Palestinian Land Day - 2019

The protests were against plans to confiscate Arab land and to expand Jewish settlements in Galilee were a part of an increasing seizure of Arab land.

Palestinian Land Day - 2019

In response to the planned strike and marches there had been a much increased police and military presence in the area, with armoured vehicles and tanks being driven “along the unpaved roads of various villages of the Galilee“. Some of these military convoys were attacked by youths with stones and even, according to Israeli government sources, Molotov cocktails.

Palestinian Land Day - 2019

The Israeli government had declared the strikes and all demonstrations illegal and some Palestinian leaders had voted against supporting them, but these actions seem only to have hardened the resolve of the Palestinians.

Palestinian Land Day - 2019

According to the Wikipedia article, quoting an academic source, the events led to “a new sense of national pride, together with anger toward the state and police and sorrow over the dead protesters, developed among the Arab community in Israel.” And in 1988, Land Day was announced as “a Palestinian-Israeli civil national day of commemoration and a day of identification with Palestinians of the West Bank and Gaza, to be marked by yearly demonstrations and general strikes.

The Freedom, justice & equality for Palestinians protest in London close to the Israeli Embassy in Kensington on Land Day, 30th March 2019 came a year after the 2018 Land Day Protest in Gaza, also known as The Great March of Return. On that day in Gaza, 30,0000 Palestinians took part in a largely peaceful march some distance from the border fence. But Israeli snipers in safe positions opened fire on those who approached the fence, some to burn tyres or through objects at the fence. 17 Palestinians were killed, including five Hamas members, and more than 1,400 injured.

A small group of Zionists had come to oppose the protest

Smaller marches in Gaza continued at weekly intervals and by Land Day 2019 a total of over 250 mainly unarmed protesters had been killed and thousands injured.

It’s hard to look back on history to Land Day (and beyond) and not see how Zionist right wing policies have failed both Israel and Palestine and are continuing to fall all those in the area. Balfour is often blamed for kicking the situation off, but had his “it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine” ever been taken seriously we would not be where we are now.

A line of police protects the Zionist pen

The Oslo Accords were another start to a possible peace process, but again firmly opposed by the right-wing Zionist parties – and Israeli prime minister Yitshak Rabin was assassinated for signing them. Leaders opposed to the accords – Ariel Sharon and current Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu came to power.

This man shouts repeatedly ‘There are no Palestinians in Gaza!’

On Land Day 2019, a group of Zionist extremists had come along to the Palestinian protest to try and shout down those speaking. Police kept them a short distance away and with a relatively powerful public address system their efforts were largely inaudible.

Some of the Palestinians took a large Palestine flag and hid the group behind it until police persuaded them back and other protesters moved in to argue with and shout at them. Police tried to move the Palestinians away with little success while I was present

Taking part in the Palestinian protest were as usual many Jews, including the ultra-orthodox Neturei Karta who see Zionism as diametrically opposed to Judiasm.

Freedom, justice & equality for Palestinians.


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EDL Rally Supports Israel – 2010

Tuesday, October 24th, 2023

EDL Rally Supports Israel: In 2010 the English Defence League (EDL) an extreme right-wing organisation founded in June 2009 was reaching the peak of its existence and several hundred came to a protest in Kensington to show their support of Israel.

EDL Rally Supports Israel

The EDL’s support of Israel came from the anti-Muslim centre of their activities; the group was founded following their opposition to a protest at a homecoming parade in Luton by a small group of Muslim extremists against a regiment returning from Afghanistan, which was also opposed by Luton’s large Muslim community.

EDL Rally Supports Israel
Rabbi Nachum Shifren

The EDL had invited right-wing US Rabbi Nachum Shifren, part of the ‘Tea Party’ movement from California to speak at the rally outside the Israeli Embassy. As I wrote at the time, “Although the EDL claim to be opposing the rise of fascism in their opposition to Muslim extremists, they have come to a very biased view over Israel and Palestine, and have been very effectively infiltrated by bigoted Zionists.

EDL Rally Supports Israel

The EDL gathered at a pub on Gloucester Road before their march to the Embassy, filling the pavement outside. There were a number of press photographers on the opposite side of the street watching them but I decided to cross the road and talked with and photograph Rabbi Schriffin. None of the other photographers followed me.

EDL Rally Supports Israel

For some minutes before the start of the march I was able to talk with him and some of the EDL supporters and some were happy to be photographed, and even complimented me for my accurate reporting on earlier protests – while complaining bitterly about the media coverage they get. As I told them I always try to report objectively, while also making my own difference of opinion clear.

The press they got did reflect the behaviour of at least some of those at their protests, and if the EDL wanted to end the accusations of racism they needed to take more positive action against the kind of behaviour that makes them possible. But many of their members including leading figures had a long history of membership of right-wing racist groups, and it was clear that the claim they made “We do not support racism or intolerance of any kind” was simply window dressing.

The leaflet they handed out described themselves as “the knights of old, defending our great nation for the threat of Militant Islam” and said “All welcome no matter of colour, religion or sex” and there was at least some truth in that shown in the composition of those in the march, with certainly a number of women, some claiming to be gay but, search as I have, not a single black face in my pictures.

For once Unite Against Fascism failed to mobilise much effective opposition to this demonstration – and did not appear to have tried very hard to do so. On their web site I found the statement “UAF does not have a position on the question of Israel and Palestine – our members have many different views on this question. Instead, we unite around our common aim of opposing the rise of fascism.” And as I commented, “Perhaps on this occasion they felt that taking action might offend some of their Jewish supporters.”

Some of those Jewish supporters were there in the rather small crowd opposing the rally, and there was a more direct action by a young man in a black jacket and gloves who came and stood listening for a short while, who took out his water bottle, had a drink and then reached over and poured the rest of it over the amplifier before turning and running down the street.

The sound from the microphone cut immediately, and the people inside the pen burst into angry shouts. It took the police longer to react and by the time they were moving the man had escaped, probably disappearing into High Street Kensington to catch the tube. I’d also been taken by surprise and hadn’t managed to take his photograph. Or perhaps I’d been wondering whether I should…

Eventually the water was tipped out and the amplifier wiped dry and came back into some very crackly life. Police shut the stable door by moving everyone outside the pen away and that and the sound quality made it hard to hear much of Rabbi Shifren’s speech, some minutes of which were in Hebrew. But he made clear his opposition to Sharia Law and Muslim extremists and I think to any aspect of multiculturalism. And I think he also denied the Palestinians any right to exist in the land which had been given to Israel.

Roberta Moore of EDL’s Jewish Division

I went home rather than go on with the EDL to Speakers Corner, where they were apparently heavily heckled. Another photographer who was there told me “that a small group of EDL supporters had attacked a Muslim bookstall and the 11-year-old boy who was running it, and then turned on photographers for taking pictures of their actions.” His camera had been smashed into his face by an EDL supporter. Photographs on the web confirmed this story.

Kevin Carroll

On My London Diary I wrote at some length about my own views on the EDL and the event as well as putting far more pictures than usual online which you can view at EDL Rally to Support Israel.


Stop the Gaza Massacre – National March

Tuesday, January 10th, 2023

National March, Hyde Park to Israeli Embassy, London, Saturday 10 January 2010

Stop the Gaza Massacre - National March

Well over 100,000 marchers turned up to Hyde Park in London on Saturday 10 January 2010 to show their opposition to the Israeli attacks on Gaza and call for an end to the killing there. After a rally there they marched

Stop the Gaza Massacre - National March

As well as posters and banners, some carried dolls as a reminder of the 300 or so children already killed by the Israeli attacks in the current offensive, the Israeli Operation Cast Lead which had begun on 27th December 2008 and was still continuing.

Stop the Gaza Massacre - National March

The Gaza Massacre ended with Israel declaring a ceasefire eight days after this protest on 19th January 2009, by which time the Israeli attacks and killed (figures from Wikipedia) between 1,166 and 1,417 Palestinians. There had been 13 Israeli deaths, four of them killed by their own Israeli forces.

Stop the Gaza Massacre - National March

Many children were among the Palestinians killed and some protesters carried dolls or bundles of blood-stained clothing to represent the 300 already known to have died at the time the protest took place. It remains unclear exactly how many civilians were among the killed as Israel allowed few international workers into the area and denied access to journalists. Around a sixth of those killed were police officers in Gaza.

The attacks severely damaged half of Gaza’s hospitals and health facilities. A survey by the United Nations Development Programme estimated that 14,000 homes, 68 government buildings, and 31 non-governmental organisation offices were either totally or partially destroyed. The Israeli blockade on Gaza meant that it was not possible to import the building materials needed for essential repairs and rebuilding.

The police had severely under-estimated the likely size of the protest, failing to believe the figures suggested by the march organisers. They had planned for a much smaller protest and this led to problems. Quite rightly, feelings run very high over Gaza and there were many who wanted to get to the Israeli Embassy and make their feelings clear.

I had no problems with the police, but was assaulted close to the Embassy by several Stop the War stewards some of whom do seem to have a real problem with the press. They pushed me around and tried to stop me from working, although other stewards who who saw what happened did apologise to me for the treatment I received.

The official front of the march – well behind some of the angrier protesters eventually arrived and paused briefly close to the embassy, safe down a private road behind barriers and police before moving on and dispersing. But many of those on the march remained in the area and the street soon became completely blocked. I could only watch from a distance over the heads of the densely packed crowd as there seemed to be some fighting with police as demonstrators tried to climb the barriers. Placards, sticks and shoes were being thrown either towards the embassy or at the police.

I walked a few yards further down the road where a group of young men burning placards with a picture of the “World’s #1 Terrorist”. A little further still things were much quieter with some Muslim men saying prayers. It looked as if there would be protests here continuing long into the night, but I had to leave as I had promised to take pictures elsewhere at a private event.

Much more at Gaza Massacre – National March.


Remember Gaza – 2012

Tuesday, December 27th, 2022

Remember Gaza - 2012

On 27th December 2008 the Israeli military began ‘Operation Cast Lead’ after 6 months of planning, striking 100 targets in Gaza in less than four minutes. This initial attack was followed by other air attacks and on January 3rd by an invasion on the ground. Israeli Defense Forces ended their attacks on 18th January 2009 by which time around 1400 Palestinians had been killed, with only 13 Israeli deaths, four killed by their own forces. You can read more on Wikipedia.

Remember Gaza - 2012

Every year for the next four years there were large protests close to the Israeli Embassy in London on December 27th against calling for an end to attacks on Gaza and an end to the siege of Gaza which prevents the imports of building materials and other vital goods needed for health and reconstruction. But the 2008-9 attacks on Gaza have been followed by others in 2014 and 2018 and more air strikes in 2021 and 2022.

Remember Gaza - 2012

Things now seem likely to get even worse with a new Israeli government under Benjamin Netanyahu including anti-Arab ultra-nationalists in key posts including the finance minister, a defence ministry post and national security minister as well as in the education ministry.

Among promises made to form the coalition are the legalisation of illegal Israeli settlements in the Palestinian West Bank, lifting of restrictions on Jewish prayer at the Al-Aqsa Mosque and a loosening of the restrictions on using live fire against Palestinian protesters. The new government also intends to end any independence of the judicial system in Israel, making the Supreme Court subservient to government.

So far as I am aware there will be no particular protest in London today, and the last I attended on December 27th was in 2012, four years after the start of the 2008 massacres – and the pictures here come from that day. The Israeli embassy is on a private road where a ban on protest is rigorously enforced, with police and barriers preventing access, and protests take place on Kensington High Street, opposite the private street.

There are still large protests in London calling for an end to Israeli Apartheid and for freedom for Palestine – such as that on 14th May 2022 marking 74 years after the Nakba as well as many smaller actions calling for a boycott of Israeli goods and services and divestment from Israel, with the BDS movement gaining strength world-wide. Attempts by Israel to categorise any support for Palestine as anti-Semitism have largely failed because of increasing repression and increased reporting of repression by the Israeli government, Israeli forces and attacks on Palestinians by some Jewish settlers. Many of those taking part in the protests supporting Palestine are Jewish, standing alongside others from Palestine.

This year I’m pleased to feel able to have another day of relative rest after Christmas, particularly as train services are disrupted as the UK government tries to prop up our dysfunctional rail system at the expense of rail workers – while continuing the handouts to the private companies – including several European state railway companies. As in gas, electricity, water and more privatisation has proved an entirely predictable economic disaster, selling off the family silver for short-term gain.

More at Gaza – End the Siege.


Palestine, NHS & Cleaners in the Barbican

Monday, October 17th, 2022

I photographed three quite different protests in London on Saturday 17th October 2015


End the killing in Palestine – Israeli Embassy

Palestine, NHS & Cleaners in the Barbican

October 2015 saw the start of a wave of uncoordinated knife attacks on Jews in Jerusalem, mainly be individuals acting alone, probably enraged by increasing restrictions on Palestinian access to the holy area called by Muslims al-Haram al-Sharif and by Jews the Temple Mount, while at the same time Jewish activists were given greater access.

An Israeli intelligence service report blamed the Palestinian “feelings of national, economic and personal deprivation” while others suggested that Palestinians were responding to what seemed to them and human rights organisations as summary executions being carried out by Israeli forces against Palestinians involved in incidents.

According to Wikipedia, in October 2015 Israeli security forces killed 51 Palestinians in the West Bank and 18 in the Gaza strip. While the killing of Israelis makes the BBC news headlines, the deaths of Palestinians at the hand of Israeli security forces, illegal settlers and other Jewish extremists is seldom mentioned.

More pictures at End the killing in Palestine


Junior Doctors protest to save the NHS – Waterloo Place & Whitehall

Palestine, NHS & Cleaners in the Barbican

Junior doctors met for a rally in Waterloo Place to protest the changes to NHS contracts that will mean working more unsocial hours at standard rates, remove safeguards that stop hospitals overworking doctors, and penalise those volunteer for charities, have families or carry out research.

The new contracts are aimed at making the NHS more profitable for private companies to take over NHS activities and many mainly Tory MPs have interests in private healtcare companies. But overwhelming doctors who work in the NHS want to see it kept as a serrvice dedicated to the public good rather than working to make profits for shareholders at the expense of both healthcare workers and the treatment given to patients.

A banner covered in names of doctors who were on duty so couldn’t attend


After a number of speeches in Waterloo Place, thousands of junior doctors and their supporters marched to sit down briefly outside Downing St before continuing to a final rally in Parliament Square.

Graffiti artist Stik (Centre) stands under two of the placards he designed against privatisation of the NHS

More pictures at Junior Doctors protest to save the NHS.


Cleaners protest in Barbican – Barbican Centre

Palestine, NHS & Cleaners in the Barbican

I met the cleaners outside the main entrance to the Barbican in Silk Street, where thee United Voices of the World held a noisy rally with a few speeches. They were here after the Barbican management had ignored requests to talk with the UVW union over failing to pay the living wage until 6 months late, contractual sick pay, and cleaners were being victimised for their for trade union activities. They were also protesting the use of unpaid ‘Workfare’ in the centre.

After a while a small group from the UVW , led by UVW General Secretary Petros Elia, ran inside past security staff and made their way to the middle of the arts centre to protest there. The Barbican was holding an event called ‘Battle of Ideas’ which had a large banner ‘Free Speech Allowed’ but Barbican security were not happy with free speech from Petros, despite which he was able to finish the protest, receiving a round of applause from Barbican customers.

Soon police arrived and there was a fairly friendly discuss in which the UVW agreed to leave the building in a few minutes without any trouble. They did so, and continued the protest outside the entrance in Silk Street. I took a few photographs and then left for home as it had been a long day and I wanted to get back and have my dinner.

Cleaners protest in Barbican


End The Israeli Invasion Of Gaza – 2014

Tuesday, July 26th, 2022

End The Israeli Invasion Of Gaza – 2014 On 8th July 2014, Israel had begun Operation Protective Edge with air strikes and artillery bombardment on the narrow Gaza strip of Palestinian territory.

The previous month 3 Israel teenagers had been kidnapped close to an Israeli settlement on the West Bank; several weeks later their bodies were found – they appeared to have been shot shortly after capture and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed that Israel would have a tough response.

After the kidnapping the Israel Defence Forces had immediately arrested 350 Hamas members in the West Bank, and in response Hamas fired rockets into Israel from the Gaza strip. Israel’s bombardment failed to stop the rocket attacks and after 10 days on 17th July they began a full-scale ground invasion, attempting to destroy the military tunnels which Hamas had created in Gaza.

Israel ended the ground invasion on 5th of August and a cease-fire was announced on 26th August. During the war between 2,125 and 2,310 Gazans were killed and over 10,000 badly injured, many of them permanently disabled. The homes of over 10,000 families were destroyed and more severely damaged. The huge military imbalance meant that deaths on the Israeli side were 72, five of them civilians.

The protest in London on Saturday 26th July called for an end to Israeli attacks on Gaza which had already killed over a thousand Palestinians, mainly civilians.

It began with a rally on the main road close to the Israeli embassy a short distance down a private road which was heavily defended by barriers and police. The police tried to keep the protesters on the pavements and traffic flowing, but there were soon far too many protesters for this to be possible and it spilt out to block the road.

The rally here was fairly short, with speakers including Owen Jones and Labour veteran Walter Wolfgang. It was hard to estimate the number of protesters, but the wide street was packed with people for around 300 yards, many too far away to hear the speeched. I photographed the front of the march as it moved off and stayed with it for around half a mile before walking slowly back against the flow of the march taking more pictures of the protesters. There were still people coming out of the tube station for the march as I took a train to photograph another protest at Westminster.

After covering another event briefly I met up with the front of the march at Trafalgar Square as it turned into the top of Whitehall and was able to photograph it going down. It stopped briefly opposite Downing St, then continued to Parliament Square for the main rally.

Jeremy Corbyn sees me taking his picture

Parliament Square is almost square with its large central area, mainly grassed about 205×230 feet, and for this protest was mainly fairly crowded, with people spilling out onto the roadways around its edge in places. Though quite a few protesters had felt they had done their bit by marching on a hot day and were making their way to the station or elsewhere.

I stayed for some time, photographing the marchers and speakers but after listening to around 17 of them (you can see my pictures of them on My London Diary) I began to feel rather faint. It was a hot day, and although there is some shade, to take photographs I had needed to stand in the sun. The rally was still continuing as I left for home.

Stop the Massacre in Gaza Rally
End Gaza Invasion March to Parliament
Israeli Embassy rally – End Gaza Invasion


Palestine Land Day, Bunny Hop, and Afrin

Thursday, March 31st, 2022

Palestine Land Day, Bunny Hop, and Afrin. Saturday 31st March 2018 was Holy Saturday, the day between Good Friday and Easter Day which most people now call Easter Saturday, though more correctly this comes a week later. But only one of the four events I photographed that day was connected to Easter.

Palestine Land Day, Bunny Hop, and Afrin

Land Day protest against supporters of Israeli state – Oxford St

Palestine Land Day, Bunny Hop, and Afrin

Palestine Land Day, observed annually by Arab citizens of Israel and Palestinians across the world, remembers the day in 1976, March 30th when a general strike and protests were called in Arab towns in Israel against plans by Israel to expropriate around 8 square miles of land in Galilee for Jewish settlements, about 2.5 square miles of which was Arab owned. The Israeli government tried to suppress the protests using police and the army as well as threatening strikers with dismissal. Six unarmed Palestinians were shot and killed and there were many injuries.

The annual Land Day celebrations since then in Israel have often been marked by violent attacks on protesters, with injuries and deaths. On 30th March 2018 Israel Defence Force snipers were placed in position on the separation wall in Gaza and opened fire on unarmed protesters several hundred yards away using live ammunition. 17 Civilians were killed and over 750 seriously injured by live fire, others injured by rubber bullets and tear gas.

This protest was led by a group which have been protesting regularly outside the Oxford Street main store of Marks & Spencers for many years against their support for Israel. They had planned a large rolling protest for the day following Land Day, going along Oxford Street stopping for short speeches outside stores with business links with Apartheid Israel, calling for shoppers to boycott them for selling Israeli goods. While I was with them as well as Marks & Spencers they also protested outside Selfridges, which sells Israeli wines, Adidas which supports the Israel football team, Boots which sells cosmetics made in Israel and Carphone Warehouse.

Land Day protest against Israeli state


BMXLife Charity Bunny Hop – Oxford St

BMX Life is a group of BMX bike riders started after young Tommy Wright suffered a near fatal heart attack, and his family wanted to give something back after the support they had received at Evelina London Children’s Hospital. They have since raised over £60,000 for the register charity Evelina Children’s Heart Organisation ECHO.

The riders dressed as Easter Bunnies for what was their 4th Bunny Hop ride-out in London. Previously I’d met them riding at Christmas dressed as Santas and reindeer.

BMXLife Charity Bunny Hop


Defend Afrin – Bring Anna Home – Oxford St

Kurds and supporters marched from close to Marble Arch to a rally in Parliament Square demanding an end to the invasion of Afrin in north-west Syria by Turkish forces and al Qaeda-affiliated militias in clear violation of international law, and its air strikes have deliberately targeted civilian areas.

The Turkish aim is to destroy a peaceful state and eliminate its majority Kurdish population, with President Erdogan announcing Turkey’s intention to invade all the Kurdish areas of Syria and “cleanse” the area of its Kurdish people.

Turkey is a member of NATO, with the organisation’s second largest army, supplied with weapons mainly from European countries including the UK who had recently signed a major arms deal. The British government has disgracefully expressed support for Turkey’s attacks, claiming it has a right to defend its borders, despite the fighting being outside them and the announced intention to push on to even more distant areas in Syria. The Kurdish peoples protection units YPG and YPJ fighting the attacks are only lightly armed but were putting up a determined resistance, but without further support were unable to defeat Turkey.

The protest called for an end to the invasion of Syria with an immediate ceasefire to enable the body of YPJ volunteer Anna Campbell to be returned to her family in Sussex, an end to all arms sales, to Turkey and other anti-human regimes in the Middle East, for humanitarian relief for Afrin and other areas of Syria and for an investigation into human rights abuses and war crimes in Afrin.

Eventually, after Afrin was captured, pressure from the US and the Council of the European Union condemning Turkey’s military action brought Turkish advances to an end, until President Trump withdrew US forces from the area, betraying the Kurds who had defeated ISIS with US air support. Further Turkish attacks then took place but were internationally condemned.

Defend Afrin – Bring Anna Home


Against Israeli Land Day massacre – Israeli Embassy, Kensington

News of the cold-blooded massacre of Palestinian Land Day protesters with videos that shocked the world on March 30th led to an emergency protest being called close to the Israeli embassy on Kensington High Street (the embassy is a few yards away on the private Kensington Palace Gardens where no protests are allowed.)

I wrote “It is hard to see how anyone with the slightest streak of humanity or decency can fail to condemn the cold-blooded shooting of unarmed civilians carrying out a peaceful protest, but the coverage of the event in the UK media has been surprisingly muted, with the BBC giving considerable air-time to Israeli state speakers who have shamefully claimed the massacre was reasonable and fully justified.”

The UN called for an independent investigation, which Israel refused. But it was perhaps not coincidental that this is the only protest I can recall at the embassy where there has not been a usually small group of counter-protesters waving Israeli flags in support of the regime and its actions. But more likely it was because it was Passover.

Against Israeli Land Day massacre


End Gaza Invasion: 2014

Monday, July 26th, 2021

Israel ‘disengaged’ from Gaza in 2005, but retained many controls in what international bodies still consider a form of occupation. It has maintained a blockade, controlling access by sea and air to the area which has a closed border with Egypt and strict border controls to Israel. With 1.85m Palestinians on under 140 square miles it is the third most densely populated area in the world. (See Wikipedia for most of the figures in this post.)

The Israeli and US-led economic blockade of Gaza, imposed after Hamas gained a majority in the area in the 2006 elections and too over from Fatah in 2007 has stopped the import and export of many goods, and together with damage caused by Israel air raids and invasions has led to severe shortages of water, medicine and power.

The protest in London on July 26th 2014 came during the Israeli ‘Operation Protective Edge’, which had begun on July 8th with bombing and artillery fire and escalated to a ground invasion on July 17th, with the aim of killing as many Palestinian militants as possible. It was sparked by the murder of three Israeli teenagers by Hamas members but the Israeli response was quite disproportionate.

Estimates of deaths and damage vary slightly, but agree that over two thousand Palestinians were killed, with the UN suggesting that 1,462 of these were civilians. 67 Israeli soldiers were killed and 6 civilians were killed by Palestinian rockets.

The damage to properties was similarly disproportioate. While around 18,000 homes were destroyed or seriously damaged in Gaza, Palestinian rockets only destroyed one in Israel. Gaza also lost over 200 places of worship, and almost three hundred primary schools and 73 medical facilities were badly damaged or destroyed. The attacks are said to have produced around 2.5 million tons of rubble in Gaza.

Jeremy Corbyn on the march in Whitehall

This is of course not the only year in which there were attacks by Israel on Gaza. “008-9 saw ‘Operation Cast Lead’ which also produced incredible devastation and over a thousand Palestinian Deaths and 13 of Israelis. In 2018 there were border protests in which over 13,000 Palestinians were seriously wounded by Israeli snipers and many killed. A UN Human Rights Council’s independent commission examined 489 cases of Palestinian deaths or injuries and found that only two were possibly justified as responses to danger and the rest were illegal. And most recently in May 2021 there were ten days of attacks by Israeli forces resulting in more destruction and deaths.

The protest on July 26th began on the main road close to the Israeli Embassy, tucked away in a private street in Kensington. Soon themain road was packed with people many too far away to hear the speeches despite the amplification. Finally it moved off on its way to Parliament Square.

There was a long list of speakers at the rally, including a number of well-known musicians and other public figures, but I began to feel rather tired, having been on my feet too long covering this and another protest, and I left before the end. But you can see pictures of many of the speakers as well as the crowd in My London Diary.

As usual there were many Jewish supporters of Palestine on the march, and a small group of the ultra-orthodox Neturei Karta anti-Zionist Jews who had walked from north London to join the rally.

Stop the Massacre in Gaza Rally
End Gaza Invasion March to Parliament
Israeli Embassy rally – End Gaza Invasion